Opinion Piece - Tips & Tricks for Startups: How to attract and retain the right talents

Hiring the right team for any startup is crucial as it plays a major role in forming the brand image and what principles it adapts while it is growing.

Top, experienced talent can be unaffordable for startups to hire, yet they could be just what a startup needs. Considering the talent’s experience in the field, they might be looking for more established organizations.

So, as a founder of a promising startup, how can you attract and retain the right talent?

The following are some tips proven to do the trick


Build your startup culture, or at least the culture framework:

Fancy coffee machines, bean bags and flexible working hours are cool! But they are not enough to differentiate your startup’s culture.

Identify what puzzle out your company image; your brand message, vision and mission, value system and employees value proposition.

Understanding your operational model will allow you to construct the company’s culture and figure out if, for example, working remotely and being result-oriented can apply to your culture more than focusing on working hours

Infusing your culture with a sense of partnership between the talent and startup is a strong element to attract and retain the millennial workforce out there.

Top talent is driven by the value added to their experience and career. So, building your culture around the encouragement of seizing every training and development opportunity is an attraction and retention tactic until the startup grows to develop designated training programs or hands-on workshops for every emerging role.


Don’t mass-target your talent:

Many founders incur the cost of mass-targeting to end up hiring talent that is not a suitable match for the startup but because they are available and generally skilled, then spend on training them on the job, yet it doesn’t take long for them to leave the company for a more suitable match.

So, where can founders look to find their talents?

 Defining the personality or character and the desired attitude of your employees -the personality that can fit into your startup’s culture and make it thrive- is a good way to start.

You can kick off your hiring strategy by looking into more focused groups and communities -whether they are digital or physical- that circles around your defined personality and job description.

Ask for referrals from enablers in the ecosystem; fellow founders, investors, or incubators.

You may also consider hiring recruitment agencies to fill your critical challenging vacancies in a fast and reliable way, provided you assess the return of the employee in comparison to the high-recruitment-cost associated.

When it comes to the interview and selection stage, and when needed, don’t think twice about getting the hand of experts from your board of directors, investors or mentors, to help in landing the best most suitable talents for you. Remember that you might not always be the right person to assess the technicality skills of each candidate.


Engagement and transparency as a retention policy:

Fostering the sense of trust and ownership over tasks and job responsibilities while being present to support if needed, increases the engagement and construct a mutual sense of trust, as much as being transparent.

It’s always advisable to never neglect the small details related to the job, job responsibility, compensation plan, and company situation, or promise something that’s not going to happen at a certain time soon whether they are job responsibilities or benefit-related matters.

The most effective way for retention is the ESOP plan which should be established at an early stage to provide employees or some of the employees with ownership stakes and accordingly gain their loyalty and increase their level of dedication & productivity down the road.  This shall also assess in retaining employees even when you pay them lower salaries.